Education Authority in Northern Ireland admits their shortcoming on addressing special student needs

A whistleblower blames the Education Authority in Northern Ireland for the lack of support received by students with special needs.

Shortcomings by the Education Authority in Northern Ireland

The Education Authority in Northern Ireland undergone an internal audit coming from a concern of alleged unnecessary assessment delays and breach of confidential information regarding children under the Education Authority.

To express sincerity in admitting the mistakes the organization has done, its chief executive, Sara Long, personally apologized to the families affected by the incident.

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for the stress and worry we have incured unto you and your families.

In a deliberation conducted by the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, Long admitted the mistakes and showed guilt over thee authority’s shortcomings. The Stormont’s Education Committee was in charge of deliberating the issue regarding the lapses of the Education Authority in Northern Ireland.

Triggered by a whistleblower

The investigation on the shortcomings made by the Education Authority was sparked by a whistleblower who exposed the story in a show at BBC Radio.

The narrative of the whistleblower centered on the lack of support the authority has given to students with special needs. Around 23 percent of the student population in Northern Ireland belongs to the category of students with special needs, that’s approximately 80,000 students accounted for.

To avail for financial support for students with special needs, they should request it at the Education Authority and the agency will assess the validity of the application. Assessment results should be released within 26 weeks prior to application, which can have considerable delays if requirements are not completed immediately.

But according to the internal audit, the agency completes the assessment at an average of 40 weeks, which is considered to be too dragging already. Among the 20,000 pupils who applied for special needs assistance, around 280 students were able to receive their confirmation for almost a year prior to application.

A spokesperson for the Education Authority defended the agency by claiming that the date the documents were received should not be the starting date imbued on the processing date, the date should be according to the instance the data was input in the system.


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